The school is governed by the St Laurence Education Trust (SLET), an independent governing body established in 1997 responsible for the financial, educational and strategic management of the school.

In October 2018, SLET signed an agreement confirming its full independence from the Ampleforth Abbey Trust with clarity of its responsibilities and with safeguarding of students as its highest priority. 

The Trust is made up of independent lay trustees from a variety of backgrounds who, amongst other things, oversee the financial, educational and strategic management of the school. They have overall responsibility for the school to meet all of the requirements set by external statutory bodies such as the Department for Education, the Independent Schools Inspectorate and the Charity Commission.

Trustees meet formally every term as a full trustee board and for sub committees but communicate frequently between these meetings. They are regular visitors to the school, meeting staff and students and attending school events.

A recruitment programme for SLET has yielded a number of new Trustees and Advisers whose skills and experience complement that of our existing Trustees.  This programme is ongoing and we are committed to adding further high calibre individuals to our Board so as to ensure the best strategic leadership and oversight for the future of the College.

To learn more about the individual trustees, please see the biographies below. Alternatively,  please contact Janice Lightley, Clerk to the St Laurence Education Trust, for further details.  Mr Edward Sparrow is the Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust.  He can be contacted throughout the year via Janice Lightley by telephone on 01439 766000 or in writing to Janice Lightley, Clerk to the St Laurence Education Trust, Ampleforth College, York, YO62 4ER.

Edward Sparrow
Chair of the St Laurence Education Trust

Edward was educated at Ampleforth and Lincoln College, Oxford where he read history.  His whole working life has been spent at Ashurst LLP (formerly Ashurst Morris Crisp) an international commercial law firm in the City of London. Until his retirement in April 2018, Edward had been a partner there since 1981, specialising in corporate and banking disputes and financial and professional regulation. He is now a part time consultant to the firm. His other roles include: longstanding Chair of Governors at St Catherine's School, Twickenham, an independent day school for girls from nursery to sixth form; Chair of the City of London Law Society: the local law society for solicitors and firms practising in the City of London and Canary Wharf; a member of the Bank of England's Enforcement Decision Making Committee; the body responsible for decisions in relation to contested disciplinary cases involving firms regulated by the Prudential Regulatory Authority and other arms of the Bank; and a trustee of Care International UK; the UK member of the Care federation which is an international humanitarian charity.  Edward has been married to Jay for more than 40 years. They have seven children, including three boys who all went to Ampleforth. His spare time is spent with his grandchildren, travelling or assisting in the garden.

  • Robin Burdell
    Trustee & Chair of Finance & General Purposes Committee

    Mr Robin Burdell was educated at Ampleforth College (1969-1976) and is a retired independent school bursar, now working as a freelance consultant bursar. Previous posts include Head of Finance and Marketing Appointments for RSAcademics Ltd, Director of Finance and Operations for Worth School and Finance Director for Worth Abbey; Business Director and Secretary to the Board of Truro School; Director of Finance and Estates at Nottingham High School; and Head of Finance and Administration and Company Secretary at Stanford Hall Enterprises Ltd. He has served on the Independent School Bursars’ Association (ISBA) Executive Committee, Chairman of the ISBA General Purposes Committee, and on the Board of the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). Robin Burdell is a qualified Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (FCMA) and a Member of Chartered Global Management Accountants (CGMA).

  • Meg Baines
    Trustee, Chair of Safeguarding Committee & Safeguarding Trustee

    Meg Baines, Cert Ed BA MBA NPQH FRSA, is a retired head teacher who lives with her husband in North Yorkshire. Currently Vice Chair of Governors of a state secondary school and a Diocesan Section 48 Inspector for Middlesbrough, Hexham & Newcastle and Leeds & Bradford Dioceses, she was previously an ISI Section 5 Inspector. Meg was a teacher for 38 years in both state and independent schools across the country. She began her career in 1977 at St Augustine's School, Scarborough, moving to Leeds, Bromley and Crystal Palace where she spent the last 10 years as head of an independent Prep School. Meg has a wide range of teaching experiences and had success as a teacher of PE, RE and History in Walthamstow, Ilford and Bromley. Meg gained an MBA in educational management from Leicester University before becoming deputy head teacher in an all boys school in Ilford. Previously a governor on a number of governing bodies in Sussex and London, Meg was designated safeguarding lead and has recently completed head appraisal training with North Yorkshire County Council. Meg was a member of Independent Schools Association Council for 6 years, representing London South and remains an honorary member. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA) since 2005, Meg is keenly interested in educational innovation. She retired from teaching in 2015, but remains a section 48 Inspector and was recommissioned by the Bishop of Middlesbrough in November 2018. Meg is an active member of the parish community, a mother of three grown up children, a doting grandparent and an avid amateur detectorist. 

  • Barbara Matthews
    Staff Liaison Trustee

    Barbara Matthews was educated in the United States and moved to the United Kingdom in 1988.  Her career has been spent first in law, as international counsel in both the steel and offshore oil and gas industries, working for FT 100 and Fortune 500 companies negotiating contracts throughout Europe, Asia and the Middle East.  Secondly, in 2007 Barbara moved into politics as political assistant to the Conservative Group on the City of York Council.  From 2010-16 she was a non-executive director for one of the region’s largest NHS mental health providers.  Barbara’s daughter was educated through the Ampleforth system, including St Martin’s Nawton, SMA and the College.  She has been married to David since 1988 and her interests include politics, literature and equestrian sports.

  • Mark McCandless
    Staff Liaison Trustee

    Chief Executive Officer of Ryedale Learning Trust (local Multi-Academy Trust and approved Academy Sponsor.) Former Executive head Teacher Ryedale Federation and Head Teacher Ryedale School. Former DSL at Ryedale School.

  • Martha Byrne Hill

    Martha was educated at Mayfield School before reading law at Downing College, Cambridge.  Her years in practice as a solicitor began in London and she lived in both India and Hong Kong doing a variety of contentious and non-contentious work across a number of jurisdictions.  She was a Governor of Orwell Park School in Suffolk for ten years, latterly as the Safeguarding Governor. She is currently a Trustee of and Chair of the Nominations Committee for the Ryedale Festival in North Yorkshire, an annual two-week music and performing arts festival. She was also involved in fundraising work for a national charity, Turn2Us. Martha was for many years involved in preparing children and young people for First Holy Communion and Confirmation before moving with her family to North Yorkshire in 2014.  Martha’s husband, Damien, is an old-Amplefordian and their three sons and one daughter were all educated at Ampleforth between 2009 and 2019. She has attended the Triduum Retreat at Ampleforth since 1992 and was closely involved in developing and running the extensive Children’s Liturgy Programme during the Retreat.  Her particular interests include the Rule of St Benedict, contemporary and classical, particularly Baroque, music and long walks with her spaniels.

  • David Ashcroft

    Independent Chair Sheffield Safeguarding Partnership (Adults and Children). Independent Chair, RNIB Regulatory Services and Safeguarding Committee. Former Independent Chair of Norfolk Safeguarding Children's Partnership and National Chair and Director of Association of Independent Local Safeguarding Children's Boards. Multiple roles for Local Authorities as Chair or Author of Independent Reviews and as a consultant especially on governance, improvement and inspection. School Governor and local authority senior manager of children’s services.

  • Sir Julian Brazier

    Former Member of Parliament and Minister. Background in business including the City and management consulting. Continues to hold non-executive positions. Former Territorial Army Officer. His political, military and voluntary public service has involved much contact with young people and he serves on the board of two national youth charities. Former school governor.

  • Dr Michael Clarke

    Michael is a retired Consultant Paediatric Neurologist and Community Paediatrician. He has worked in the NHS for 45 years; 35 as a Consultant. Michael has, primarily, been a clinician but has also had roles in management, training, mentoring, educational supervision and service development.

  • Patrick McDermott

    Director of The Diocese of Leeds, Chair of the Diocesan Safeguarding Commission, Safeguarding Lead for the Congregation of Josephites, Safeguarding Commission Chair Representative on the National Catholic Safeguarding Commission for England and Wales. Experience of safeguarding in education. Former Head of three Catholic secondary schools.

  • Colin Passmore

    Newly retired Chair of City law firm. 10 years’ experience of strategic leadership and corporate governance to meet changing client and market needs. Chaired the firm's Charitable Foundation and Responsible Business team, which led the firm's work to increase diversity and social mobility, the firm's pro bono work and its contribution to access to justice. Former member of the City of London Law Society, Main Committee and leads the Society's work to improve social mobility in the City.

  • Penelope Walkinshaw

    Deputy Lieutenant of Cambridgeshire and Former High Sheriff. Member Peterborough Keys Academy Trust, Board Member DfE Fenland and East Cambridgeshire Opportunity Area Board, Founder Trustee East Anglian Education Trust, improving social mobility in East Anglia, and Swaffham Prior Community Land Trust. Set up and grew Chelsea Enamels, delivered contemporary Furniture collection for Mallett Antiques. Fundraising experience with many voluntary organisations including: the Fitzwilliam Museum, Addenbrooke's Hospital and East Anglian Air Ambulance.

  • Martin Vander Weyer

    Business Editor and columnist at the Spectator. Contributor to the Daily Telegraph and Literary Review. Author. Academic Visitor to St Antony's College, Oxford. Former Deputy Chair and Chair of the Finance Committee, Royal Northern College of Music and Trustee and member of Finance and Nominations Committees, Opera North. Former Visiting Research Fellow of York University Management School. Trustee of Helmsley Arts Centre.